Why winter months are not the best time to search for a property to rent and what to do if you've got no other choice.The London rental market changes throughout the year with supply (and demand) fluctuating across seasons. Gradually, from spring and in the run-up to the summer months, it tends to get very busy, with families seeking to move into a new property before the next school year, overseas students joining London universities or young professionals starting new jobs post summer.
Then, from October / November onwards, it all slows down… Winter months are, without a doubt, not the best time to look for a property to rent! But what if you really need to find a property to rent in these months? Don't worry: here are some tips to help you prepare
London's rental market: what's wrong with winter?
Starting with the obvious...
The days are shorter, hence there are fewer houses that you can visit during the day time.
It’s cold and rainy. Generally during the winter, apartments will tend to look worse, the gardens may be muddy etc.
It’s Christmas! People have their hands full, with Christmas parties, gift buying and preparations underway, which means landlords can be much less available and responsive during this period, while prospective tenants may have less time to view properties.
- Or it's post-Christmas and people are recovering from a general hangover...
In general, landlords work with lengths of tenancies that allow them to avoid having their properties becoming available in the winter. This is to minimise the risk of having their property empty at a time of the year when the number of tenants enquiring to rent a property is at its lowest.
So, if you’re looking for a property to rent in the winter months but have an option to postpone your search till spring, we would recommend you consider doing so as this would give you access to a larger pool of options.
However, if you are, for example, an overseas tenant just arriving in London or if, for any other reason you do have to move at this time of the year, here is what you should do
Start your search now
Start your search as early as possible so that you can get a chance to see the last remaining good stock that's still available on the market.
Get your reference documents ready
Or if you are a first timer in the renting market, get familiar with the renting process. Here is our ebook with everything you need to know, including the references needed.
As a tenant in the winter months, you have to be quick in taking decisions, because, remember, the available stock of properties is much lower than during the rest of the year. Having said that, you should still make sure you review the tenancy agreement thoroughly before signing!
And the good news!
In general, you may be able to get a better deal for the property! If a landlord was unlucky enough for his / her property to become available before Christmas, he / she is more likely to drop the price in order to minimise the void period.
At the Urban Collective, we strive to make the rental search process as hassle-free and efficient as possible for you, in any season. Book your free consultation call with one of our professional Sherpas today!